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Understanding Boyfriend

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"Jeez, where do you freaks find these understanding guys, and where do I get one?!"
Shelly, Wapsi Square

So you are a freak of nature, a witch, a Super Hero, or a Chosen One. You are loaded with supernatural powers, and between going to work or school you have some world-saving duties to attend to that need to be kept secret. And on top of that, you also need to balance it out with a love life!

But you can't tell your boyfriend about it (yet)! He'd freak out and leave you, or worse. But then, you can't keep it a secret forever, either. At some point, one of your supernatural incidents will inevitably happen exactly when you were having a romantic dinner. Or maybe your relationship has simply reached the next level, and you feel that you need to be completely honest with him.

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So what now? How will he react? Well, it turns out he's perfectly okay with it (once he's connected the dots, of course) and completely understands. That's right, as a reward for your sacrifices, the Powers That Be will make sure that you end up with a truly noble and loving soul who loves you for who you are and doesn't care what you are. So no worries! And besides, he might have been in the same boat as you.

Compare Freakiness Shame, when a disguise forms part of the powers. Compare to Violently Protective Girlfriend for the Action Girl variant. Compare and contrast Non-Human Lover Reveal, for the guy/girl who is on the other end of this trope. See also The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life, which is an aversion of this trope.


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Examples

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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Awkward Silence Toono Satoru's boyfriend is the only one who can read his seemingly blank and expressionless face (other than an old childhood friend of his who doesn't show up until later volumes) and understand his emotions.
  • Played for major drama with Shiso and Ceres in Ceres, Celestial Legend. Shiso started like this, but being left helpless when he and Ceres got attacked made him very frustrated, so he asked Ceres to give him a part of her powers so he wouldn't be a burden on her. But then, said powers turned out to be too much to handle, and it went From Bad to Worse...
  • Gender swapped twice in Fruits Basket:
    • Hatori's ex-fiancee Kana was also very understanding when learning he was the Dragon of the Zodiac — the only reason they broke up at all was that Akito completely traumatized Kana and she needed to have her memories wiped of their time together.
    • Despite being understandably scared of Kyo's Dark Secret of the Cat's true form, Tohru still goes after him when he runs off. She loves him in all his forms- human, animal, and monstrous- though she is a little afraid of the latter. In fact, she is more concerned about his belief that she wouldn't.
  • The central premise of Haruka Nogizaka's Secret. The titular girl is an otaku.
  • Austria from Hetalia: Axis Powers, in regards to his Victorious Childhood Friend Hungary. While he's concerned for her well-being, in the end, he knows that if she wants to fight, he better let her... since she will go one-woman army and destroy the enemy. Considering their childhood, he knows that from experience!
  • Kagerou Project. Tsukihiko is this towards Azami; despite having snakes for hair, scaly skin, and threatening red eyes (and a multitude of dangerous powers, to boot), he treats her like a person instead of a monster, even knowing what she is and that everyone else wants her dead.
  • Kenta Usui from Karin, except for the boyfriend part. Until the end, that is. Comes with him doubling as Karin's crush and the Marker family's Secret Keeper.
  • This is central to the plot of Kotoura-san. Haruka Kotoura was friendless, socially stigmatized and severely traumatized due to her telepathic powers, and by the time Manabe comes into her life, she would actually drive people away. Manabe successfully breaks her shell and becomes protective of her, which leads her to gradually become more like what she actually is—a conventional moe heroine. The only issue is, he is a pervert and still can't really control his sexual fantasies—except those fantasies are all directed to her, rather than others.
  • Ditto with Oreimo. Except that the guy is not a boyfriend, but the big brother... yeah.
  • In Powerpuff Girls Z, Souichirou eventually finds out in episode 45 that his girlfriend, Sakurako, transforms into Sedusa whenever she's jealous or has doubts about her relationship with Souichirou. In a rather d'aww-worthy moment, Souichirou's reaction is to shout at Sedusa that he doesn't care, he loves Sedusa and Sakurako...because Sedusa is Sakurako!
  • Private Actress. Tomo'omi Hanamura is this to Shiho Kobayakawa. Half in regards to her work as a Private Actress (then again, he is one, too), and especially regarding her being the illegitimate daughter of two famous actors.
  • Mai Sakurajima in Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai is this. Having been on the receiving end of his help at the start of the story, Mai is understanding when Sakuta hares off to the rescue of the next girl with Adolescence Syndrome. He gets caught up in a few harem protagonist shenanigans, like a Suggestive Collision and an Innocent Cohabitation situation, but only needs proper explanation from her boyfriend to understand what's going on and, in the case of the latter, proceeds to live with them for the duration of the problem to prevent misunderstandings. It even gets lampshaded in the final episode, when Nodoka points out that Mai trusts Sakuta way too much to get angry at him for meeting Shouko again without telling her, and that she's clearly mad at herself for not being by his side in his time of need to the point another girl had to pick up the slack.
  • Shuuji in Saikano. His girlfriend is a WMD? That's OK, things will work out. Actually, they don't.
  • The majority of the Ashikabi in Sekirei are perfectly accepting of their Human Alien Magical Girlfriends. Minato in particular takes things in stride, and actively seeks any way he can help the girls out, whether it's providing emotional support, doing the laundry, or acting as the strategist.
  • Keiko Asakura from Shaman King had been dumped by every single boyfriend she had when they learned she was able to see spirits. Until the last Jerkass left her and a penniless musician with similar abilities comforted her. That guy was Mikihisa, and she would marry him.
  • Tokyo Black Cat Girl, a one-shot done by Mia Ikumi before Tokyo Mew Mew, has Noda, Azmumi's boyfriend. After finding out she's been chosen to fight aliens at night to save the planet, he gives her a kiss and tells her to make up for all the lunch dates she missed while they talk it over. The second-to-last page has her talking to him on the phone and keeping him updated before heading off to fight.

    Comic Books 
  • In an old What If? comic, Jimmy Olsen marries Supergirl because of amnesia. Once she recovers and lets him know, he's totally fine with being married to Superman's cousin.
  • Kong is this to Kitty Pryde in Ultimate Spider-Man, even going so far as to yell "You're welcome!" at All of the Other Reindeer for not thanking her when she saves their lives.
  • Back in the Golden Age, Steve Trevor was this for Wonder Woman (a remarkably progressive move for the times), and not at all threatened by the idea of getting rescued by or mooning over a woman who was twenty times stronger than him. The Silver and Bronze Age characterizations of him were... unfortunately less so, which probably led to the relationship being deleted from continuity in the Post-Crisis reboot.

     Fan Works 
  • The Bridge had Salty Sentry take the reveal his then-fiance Wysteria gave him about being Gaea Everfree and the retainer to the Elements of Harmony remarkably well. While surprised when she decided to reveal the secret, he still saw his beloved nonetheless in her forest nymph form. They remained happily married and had Gloriosa Daisy and Timber Spruce afterwards.
  • In Coming Back, Broken, given the situation they were in - Jim and Claire having nobody but each other and an inhospitable Eldritch Location full of enemy trolls and Eldritch Abominations - Jim had to care for Claire when she was ill or menstruating, something Barbara compared to boyfriends seen on television.
  • Lero Michaelides of Divided Rainbow.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfics Hakkōna and Kaitō Kokoro: Kiku is a nekomataneko. However, Feliciano accepts him for who he is and even thinks he is really cute.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Blind dates or not, Danny is very open-minded to (most) of the girls he has gone out with. You'd have to be in order to be okay with dating a spy, a robot, a ghost, a mutant, an alien, etc.
  • In Origin Story, when Louise finds out about Alex's super-human strength, her only reaction is "Oh, you must be a mutant, like I am!"
  • In the Rise of the Guardians fic Guardian of Light, the main character Helen discovers that Pitch is her father. Jack isn't her boyfriend at this point, but he doesn't hold this against her despite everything and is willing to protect her at all costs.
  • Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light plays it straight to an extent. When Mary Jane Watson's boyfriend Randy Robertson finds out that she's secretly a web-slinging superheroine, he's not so much upset by the fact that she's a superhero as he is at the fact that she originally wouldn't tell him the truth about it. What really pisses him off, though, is when he learns that her Arch-Enemy Jack O' Lantern knows her real identity.
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     Film 
  • The Assignment (2016): Johnnie takes it to extreme heights, as she's completely unperturbed by Frank's new appearance, and has no questions or comments beyond noting how different he looks when she first sees him post-sex reassignment. She stays with him afterward, completely accepting, without hesitation. It also seems she's entirely aware that he's a hitman, and doesn't mind at all.
  • In Hancock, Ray is a pretty understanding husband when he finds out Mary is not only the same kind of Flying Brick that Hancock is, but was also his wife.
  • Antoine is this to Waif Prophet Bernadette in The Song of Bernadette. This is only in fiction: in Real Life, they genuinely were Just Friends.
  • In Innocent Blood, Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Marie has her understanding boyfriend Joe.

     Literature 
  • Digitesque: Subverted. Both Isavel and Ada get boyfriends early on, who seem fine with all the incredible things happening, but it soon becomes apparent that the girls are developing in directions their boyfriends can't follow. Sorn sees Isavel as a glorious saint and has a lot of trouble with her trying desperately to remain normal with him, while Tanos sees Ada as a mentor and his true love when she sees him as a clever peasant and a fun distraction. Both boys get left behind (Tanos in particular is pissed that Ada unceremoniously abandoned him on an island with no way back) while the girls get closer to each other.
  • In Discworld, Carrot is completely understanding about his werewolf girlfriend Angua, even the part about her not being human for one week out of four. She's actually upset that he's not upset about this at one point.
    "That was almost...almost one of the annoying things about him. She suspected he wouldn't mind if she shaved her head, or grew a beard. It wasn't that he wouldn't notice, he just wouldn't mind, and for some reason, that was very aggravating."
    • They did get off to a rough start, but that was as much her fault as his; you should probably warn your partner in advance if there's a possibility you'll turn into a werewolf in your sleep.
  • Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn
    • Elend is one to Vin. Although this is a setting where having such powers is relatively common, but her being a pint-sized super powered assassin never bothers him in the least, even when she head-butts a guy so hard his head explodes. He even takes it more or less in stride when she wants to get married while receiving medical attention for a stab wound. He also get superpowers of his own in book 2 though.
    • Steris turns out to be one to Wax in Wax and Wayne. She appears to be a humorless Grande Dame at first, arranging a loveless marriage of convenience, but she actually ends up being fine with him continuing his crime fighting. As she see it, a gentleman must have his hobbies, and when the first case he gets on after they meet involves him saving her, she's really not in any position to complain. Neither of them can realistically expect the other to change at that point in their lives, so as long as he keeps his word, they'll have a cordial working relationship.
  • In Parties and Potions by Sarah Mlynowski, Rachel is a witch and has to tell her human boyfriend Raf. It mainly escalates when she starts doing training for her witch "debutante ball" and ends up being gone whenever he wants to hang out with her. He is okay with it when he finds out, though.
  • Shadow Police: Sefton takes up with Joe pretty much immediately after gaining the Sight, and Joe seems remarkably OK with being an Occult Detective's Muggle partner. Sarah Quill is a hugely important rock for James Quill, but the horrifying nature of Occult London and Quill's own despair are putting her under strain, too.
  • Seth in Wicked Lovely. When Aislinn tells him that she can see faeries, he has exactly one moment of "Is this a joke?" before accepting it and trying to help her with her faery situation.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Double-subverted in Bewitched. The original Darrin (Dick York) was less than understanding, to the point of being downright hostile to Samantha when she used her magic. The Other Darrin (Dick Sargent), on the other hand, tried his hardest to be understanding, the point that it was more the fault of Endora and the rest of Samantha's family that The Other Darrin didn't get along with witches.
  • Unless she's dating one of the undead, Buffy never gets this on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (even Riley, who is, himself, a demon-fighting super-soldier, has an inferiority complex due to dating a genuine superhero). It's Willow who hits the boyfriend jackpot with Oz; upon being told the truth about the supernatural world she runs in, he replies, "Actually, it explains a lot," and just goes with the flow from there. Of course, Oz discovers he is a werewolf shortly after they begin dating, so he's more or less stuck in the supernatural world regardless, and Willow ends up having to play Understanding Girlfriend just as often.
  • This is a recurring problem for the ladies on Charmed, whose human love interests either freak out at the idea of magic existing or end up six feet under very soon after learning and accepting the truth. Piper marries a Whitelighter, Leo (but after he eventually loses his powers, he becomes this). Phoebe marries a Cupid. Paige's husband Henry (a 100% normal cop) plays this straight, his only reaction to her confession being mild surprise.
    • This was also played straight by Grams' first husband before he died, but averted by everyone after that. The girls' father Victor also seemed quite accepting (and is of the girls' magic in the present day), but it's implied Grams drove him away.
    "You poor man."
  • Doctor Who. Danny Pink is this to Clara Oswald. After some initial implied jealousy over the fact Clara goes on adventures with the Doctor, Danny ultimately doesn't really have much of a problem with it. He's more upset about her penchant for lying about it. That doesn't mean he likes the Doctor, however, and pretty much every encounter they have includes a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Forever. Abigail was an Understanding Wife. In a flashback, after Henry gets stabbed and she believes him dead, he sneaks into their apartment later that night to say goodbye to Abraham but gets caught by Abigail. He starts trying to explain the situation in some manner that won't simply lead to his return to the asylum—until Abigail embraces him, realizing and accepting his immortality and understanding how cursed he is and how isolated he must have been to hide his secret.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water:
    • Played straight with Emma's Season 2 love interest Ash, who she reveals her identity as a mermaid to in the finale. His one-word reaction is "Cool."
    • Cleo's love interest Lewis also counts, having discovered the secret in the second episode. While understandably startled at first, he came to after Cleo asked for his help in a difficult situation and became possibly the ultimate example, becoming the girls' most stalwart ally.
    • Rikki's love interest Zane is a more complicated example. When he and Rikki started dating, he was obsessively searching for a mermaid he had seen (Emma), thus Rikki was very reluctant to tell him. note  He eventually found out after inadvertently leading them into a trap organised by an evil scientist; he promptly had a My God, What Have I Done? moment and worked to free them. After initially being led to believe Rikki and the others had lost their powers, he soon discovered that she still had her powers but he assured her that he was okay with it.
      • Averted with the love interest of Julia, Rikki's counterpart from the 1960s, who told her boyfriend only for him to reject her then try to exploit her secret. Hearing this story is one of the reasons Rikki was so reluctant to tell Zane. Played straight however with Max, love interest of Julia's friend (and Cleo's counterpart) Gracie.
  • Zack was the "gay best friend" equivalent of this in Heroes, at least until Executive Meddling got in the way.
  • Allison's husband Joe on Medium believes in her powers and is understanding and accepting of them.
  • In Merlin, 2x09. Merlin discovers Freya turns into a bastet at night, but he isn't afraid and still takes care of her. He even pets her cat's head...
  • Tyler Ford in The Middleman's unaired season finale (released as a comic)...at least, until MM pushes the Reset Button.
  • Played straight on Reaper with Andi. After she learns about Sam's masquerade, she is actually relieved to find out why he stood her up so often. She was planning on breaking up with him before he told her.
  • Roswell has Isobel and Jesse; she tries to send him away after he discovers she's an alien, but in the novel 'season 4', they end up together anyway.
  • Played with in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV series. Harvey does leave Sabrina when he finds out she's a witch, not out of intolerance but because she'd been using magic to mess with his life for years. He eventually does come back to her, though, and says he never had a problem with her being a witch per se.
  • In the TV version of The Tick (2001), Captain Liberty and another female superhero discuss the difficulties of finding a boyfriend while picking up their dry-cleaning. Seriously subverted in this episode.
  • In the TV version of Wonder Woman, played by Lynda Carter, especially in the first season (set in WWII), Steve Trevor comes across as completely comfortable with the fact that Diana is more physically powerful than he is, and in fact manages to work with her and make himself actively useful while giving every impression of appreciating her for who and what she is... and doesn't come across as unbelievable or weak, either.

     Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age II a non-mage Hawke can be this if romancing Anders or Merrill. Particularly if the player character is on the friendship path.
    • Fenris and Isabela count, too. In fact, if Fenris tries to apologize for breaking up with Hawke in the second act, one of Hawke's lines is "I understand. I always understood."
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Serah wanders into some ruins and is made a Pulse l'Cie. Public opinion of Pulse l'Cie being... rather low, she tries to break up with Snow so he won't be associated with her should she be found out. He refuses to accept this, demands an explanation, and upon being told the truth says he will do anything to help her and proposes a few days later.
  • In Lollipop Chainsaw, Juliet's boyfriend Nick seems less bothered about the fact that his girlfriend is a zombie hunter armed with a magic chainsaw, and more concerned with the fact that she chopped his head off to save him from being turned into a zombie.
  • A major part of several romances in the Mass Effect series, especially with the non-humans, is Shepard being this about their various issues.
    • Aside from the inherent problems of romancing, say, a drell or a quarian, the strongest is probably Jack, who only really warms up to Shepard when she realizes he cares despite, not because of, her history and nature — that is to say, he truly loves her rather than pitying her. Of course, given the people Shepard is willing to let into the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits ("Asari? Krogan? TURIANS!?") it's only to be expected.
    • Also featured with the romance between Female Shepard and Garrus Vakarian, particularly in ME3. No matter what Shepard's done, such as bringing on the destruction of the quarian race or sabotaging the genophage cure, Garrus will still support and care for Shepherd. Heck, if you break up with him he's totally understanding and remains warm to you when most people would "get in the skycar and leave".
  • Pandora's Tower: Until I Return to Your Side. Aeron discovers his girlfriend Elena is cursed and will transform into a monster if not cured. Even with his girlfriend in a half demonic state, he throws away his post-deserter life to start exploring dangerous towers and killing its monsters, giving Elena their flesh to reset the curse timer and try to cure her (and give her gifts when he can). You could say Elena is a really lucky girl.
  • Inverted in Spider-Man (PS4), where Spider-Man gradually learns to trust M.J. in her Going for the Big Scoop, rather than trying to keep the adventuring to himself.
    Okay... I want to say don't ever do that again, but since I know you're going to anyway, here. (tosses her noise lures) Take a few of those next time.
  • This is how Hot Ryu from Street Fighter V is treated. He's still Ryu and likes fighting and training, but he's understanding, takes you into account with things, and treats you like royalty.

     Webcomics 
  • Avialae: Even before Bailey becomes Gannet's boyfriend, he proves to be incredibly supportive and understanding of Gannet's sudden growth of wings and helps him keep them a secret from others — and keeps on being just as supportive and understanding of him as a couple even when Gannet starts to fear that his inability to lead a normal life may be holding Bailey back from leading a normal life himself.
  • Subverted (although this may be a retrospective way of seeing it) in Sluggy Freelance. Leo seems to be accepting of all the weird things Zoë tells about happening to her - but it turns out that was only because he thought she was lying. In the words of another jerk he hangs out with, "You've got to respect a girl who realizes romantic relationships are based on lies and goes to town with it!" As soon as Leo finds out it was all true, he feels betrayed, and they eventually break off.
  • Lampshaded in this Wapsi Square comic. Also the page quote.

     Web Original 
  • In Worm, Defiant (i.e. Armsmaster) becomes one of these to Dragon when she reveals that she is an artificial intelligence.

     Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball finds out what Penny is hiding underneath her shell; her true form, which her family refuses to reveal because they fear it is dangerous, and her father Patrick especially forbids her. Even though Penny wants to come out of her shell, she fears that Gumball wouldn't like the real her, but he adamantly insists that they will deal with it together. Penny finally goes through with it and reveals her true form... which happens to be a shapeshifting fairy that can change based on her emotions. Before Gumball could reveal his real thoughts on her true form, she immediately runs off out of insecurity, causing Gumball to chase after her so he can tell her that her true form was extraordinary. Gumball would go to Heaven and Earth to protect Penny and get her to understand his true feelings for her, including her true form... and it eventually paid off, getting her father's approval.
  • Futurama. Fry doesn't have a problem with Leela's big ol' eye. In fact, when Leela gets a prosthetic second eye in "The Cyber House Rules", Fry is the only one who objects, saying that he liked her better the way she was. Eventually she renounces her decision, admitting Fry was right all along. (Although, she still tells him to shut up after he cheers)
    • Later on, when he actually is her boyfriend, she undergoes a horrifying genetic condition that turns her into a squid. Fry promises he'll still love her when she's first diagnosed, which comforts her a little. When she fully undergoes her transformation, Fry reassures her that he will always love her. She's clearly touched and thanks him. He then kisses her to confirm his love for her, which she returns.
  • In Kim Possible, Ron has accompanied the titular character on her hero/spy missions since forever, never complaining (except when supervillains nearly shoot him). Which is good, because Kim really appreciates his honesty and approachability: he's one of the very few people in her life who make her feel like she doesn't have to live up to unrealistic expectations.
  • Milo Murphy's Law, the Spiritual Successor and sort of Sequel Series of the above, has Sara's Love Interest Neal. Basically a geekier Expy of Jeremy, he is, thankfully, not freaked out that all the men in Sara's family are The Jinx due to a Hereditary Curse.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Marinette dates Luka because he's one of the few people who emotionally supports her while she's expected to support everyone (in both her civilian and superhero forms). He says she can tell him as much or as little as she wants. This is in stark comparison to Marinette's previous suitor, who did love her, but constantly pressed her boundaries.
  • Phineas and Ferb. Despite Candace's fanatical attempts to put a stop to Phineas and Ferb's projects, and her general tendency to blow minor problems out of proportion, her crush Jeremy never, ever seems to lose his cool, and they eventually end up going steady.
  • In Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!, Chiro lovingly sticks with his girlfriend Jinmay, even after he finds out she's a robot who was sent by Skeleton King to spy on him.
  • Teen Titans: In one episode Starfire turns into a chrysalis, her species' own version of puberty, and Robin chases after her even after seeing all her weird changes. Later, when he meets up with her again, he tells her he would have come for her even if she hadn't changed back to looking perfectly normal. D'aww...
    • Added on to that, though Robin is far from useless in a fight, he has no actual superpowers. Starfire is capable of flying, shooting energy bolts out of her hands, and punching out villains twenty times her size.
  • Young Justice:
    • In the last episodes of Season 1, we learn that M'gann is secretly a monstrous-looking White Martian (she can shapeshift into any form she wants). When Psimon makes her envision her worst fears coming true in her head, one of them is being rejected by Conner, who says, "Love you? I can't even look at you!" A few episodes later, M'gann gets the guts to tell her friends the truth, though still terrified of rejection. But then it turns out that Conner had found out about her true form before they had started dating, and had been waiting patiently for her to feel ready to confess to him.
    • Artemis comes from a family of wanted criminals, so when she joins the team, she doesn't tell anyone about her roots. Wally is mad when she messes up a mission on purpose, but he later finds out she did it because they were facing Sportsmaster, who is her biological father and one of their worst enemies. When Wally discovers her reasons, they kiss and make up.

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